That feeling when you know you have messed up big time.
I had a forty-eight hour journey back to the states from Cambodia. I was done with Asia emotionally, mentally, and physically. In Shanghai I had sixteen hours until my next flight. I had had a miserably long layover already there so I knew how international terminal one worked. I took my time and received a 24 hour visa to get my next boarding ticket. I spent a few hours in this “new to me” part of the airport. Slept on the floor and had a few cup of noodles because the airport provided hot water machines.
Then I made my way through customs again and into my new home for the next seven hours or so I thought.
Military time doesn’t come easy to me and after a 4 hour nap I checked my flight and gate. Everything was going smoothly I had about an hour and then it was boarding time. Except when I confuse 20:15 to be 10pm and 21:00 as 11pm and looking at my watch that 9pm is when I should head over to my gate. I realized my mistake as I rounded the corner to find no one waiting for the flight. I ran to the counter. This is where if you would have watched see my dog get ran over it would have looked the same. I become desperate and demanding. Pleading and begging to get one the plane. I don’t feel like I have any control. It’s because I don’t at least that the last three months of planning have now come to an unforeseen halt. As I am arguing with the lady who says she has been calling for me but I am too late the cabin door is shut and for safety reasons will not be opened again. I am dumbfounded and appalled at myself for messing up. My whole experience in Asia has been win one, lose one. This loss though felt unbearable. She directs me to the staff exits to get on the next flight through China Eastern at 1pm the next day. I definitely would be missing my connecting flight to my final destination.
As I am walking through I just start crying, I can’t help it. I am pissed, upset, scared, and overwhelmed. The security guards took pity on me and offered more guidance to where I needed to go. Customs reminded me that I had to leave by the next day before my visa expired. At the ticket counter I find a very nice woman who offers me a flight through United Airlines for $1000 to go from Shanghai to San Francisco to Los Angelos to make my connecting flight in time. I spent $660 round trip to go to Cambodia and now part of a one way ticket home is $1000! I say it’s too much money and she goes back to looking up information. I ask about going through China eastern for the next day and she says “too much! Soo expensive!” After a phone call she tells me the same flight is now $700. I had some time to think things through and I was guessing that to go through China Eastern to change the flight would some where around three hundred dollars and then to rebook my final flight would be about the same and I would also lose a day.
I take it. “Yes, $700 lets do it” oh wait how much money do I have in my account? Crap! I have her try the card and for some magical reason I had just enough. Set up with my new flight a man from behind the counter guides me through terminal one into terminal two with lightning speed. I swear he was hovering over the ground because I had to run to keep up with his walk and he was texting the whole time! I almost forget my vest at one of the security stations but we keep trucking on. As I run up the escalator after him he is waiting at the top snapping his fingers at me to keep moving. We get to what I soon realize is the terminal two check in where he leaves me. I am a baby especially when I am confused and tired but he comes back shortly with my itinerary printed out. I wasn’t too sure about the Shanghai airport before but after they pretty much carried me through my emotional mishap I feel much more appreciative of them.
Lesson learned? I hope so. I am pulling up to the gate as we speak to board my next flight.
Loosing my composure or my otherwise pleasant demeanor in the face of a difficult situation showed me another side to myself. I know I was too confident in my planning to think I could go off by myself until boarding time but now life is moving on. I need to be nicer to myself when I mess up cause we all do sometimes. I had to keep saying it’s not the end of the world.